Is your six-pack starting to resemble a keg…or ‘beer belly’ (as we like to say) Internet Explorer json? Don’t worry, your brews aren’t entirely to blame.

Dr Ingrid van Heerden, a registered dietician, explains that recent research shows that developing a ‘beer belly’ may not be linked to what you drink, but how much you drink!

“Any item of food or drink consumed in excess provides us with more energy than we need and can be deposited as fat. Beer is certainly not the only contributor to abdominal fat.”

Fact: alcohol contains calories (even the ‘Lite’ beer alternatives.) The South African Food Tables show that, “beer with an average alcohol content of 4,6% v/v (volume of alcohol in the beer) provides 172 kJ of energy per 100 ml and stout with its higher alcohol content of 6.1% v/v has 242 kJ/100 ml.”

“Just like fat, which contributes 37 kJ per gram to our energy intake, alcohol of any kind contributes 29 kJ per gram and is thus the second highest energy item in the South African diet when compared gram for gram.”

  • Spirits contain even more calories than beer. So, if you’re drinking 5 brandy and Cokes instead of 5 beers, you’re not doing your belly any favours.

As a guy, the average amount of calories that you should be consuming per day are 2,500. Any extra calories will be stored as fat, commonly in the abdominal – think ‘belly’ – region.

Besides increasing the size of your belly, too much alcohol consumption by men can cause:

  • Liver damage (Cirrhosis). This causes healthy tissue to be replaced with scar tissue, preventing your liver from working properly.
  • Unhealthy weight loss (due to a decreased appetite and general tiredness). Definitely not the recommended way to shed the kilos!
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • An upset stomach (called Gastritis)
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But, the symptom you’re probably most familiar with is the ‘hangover’. According to Dr Albert Viljoen, the ‘hung over’ feeling is caused by alcohol’s effect on different parts of your body:

  • Dehydration, which can typically give you a headache
  • A general inflammatory reaction, which makes you feel ‘slow’ and ‘groggy’.
  • A fall in blood sugar – which can lead to a general feeling of weakness, and moodiness

So, drink a lot of water and follow some of our hangover cures and you’ll be ready to take on the day in no time!

So, it actually doesn’t matter if you prefer beer, wine or vodka – drink too much and your belly is going to slowly inflate – and not with air!

If you need to get a better understanding about the dangers of drinking too much, Hello Doctor is here for you. Simply download our app and subscribe to the Hello Doctor service and you’ll be in touch with one of our docs in no time!

Sources:, Mayoclinic, WebMD,